The collections in the APA Archives date primarily from the mid-20th Century onward. The Archives is available to staff and members who need historical information to conduct APA business or for other research purposes. As Library staff time and resources permit, access to archival materials is also granted to qualified researchers exploring the history of the APA or American psychiatry in general.

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Association Governance

The records of the APA Council (now the Board of Trustees), established in 1891, are held from 1944 to present. The earlier history of the Association may be found in the "Official Actions" and other relevant sections of The American Journal of Psychiatry and its predecessor, The American Journal of Insanity, which are available from Volume 1 (1844) to present through online subscription to the Psychiatry Legacy Collection. See the fnding aids for APA governance bodies for more detailed information.

APA Departments & Projects

In addition to governance records, there are collections from the tenures of two long-serving APA Medical Directors, Walter Barton, M.D., and Melvin Sabshin, M.D., as well as several collections for APA departments and projects. For example, the Archives contains approximately 35 linear feet of materials related to the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental DisordersTM covering the DSM-III and DSM-III-R editions; the DSM-IV materials were transferred from the APA Office of Research to the Archives in 2013-2014 (approx. 60 linear feet of documents). Earlier editions of the DSM are available via (see 24-hour subscription option).


The Archives houses the manuscripts/personal papers of several prominent 20th Century psychiatrists as well as other influencial mental health advocates. There are also a few small collections related to other organizations such as the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the Association of Mental Health Clergy, and the Washington Psychiatric Society.

Papers of Individuals

Papers of Organizations

APA History

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